I had fun at The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, even though it feels like covering the show is becoming more and more of a crapshoot as far as which stars I'll actually get. I remember the days when Cynthia Nixon and Sigourney Weaver were speaking with every single outlet at one of these things; increasingly, the A-listers bypass all but the broadest media (skipping even Logo, the biggest gay media there, in some cases).
I arrived kinda late and was disappointed to discover my spot on the (indoor) carpet was in a hallway, so I'd be pressed against a wall as stars passed from photographers and TV media to large online and lesser online outlets. In all honesty, it worked out okay, in that no one was breathing down my neck, and any of the stars who didn't stop for me wouldn't have stopped for me no matter where I was.
Stood next to Greg, who is a fabulous blogger, film writer and flirt. He'd just been injured at an event a few days earlier, so a number of the attendees were inquiring as to his health. Glad he seems to have survived with his sense of humor intact—he laughed at everything I said!
Here's his take on the same evening.
I am over the days when I spent forever uploading videos, so I focused on shooting with my good camera, my real camera, and reserved video for the few people I specifically wanted on film.
I grabbed GLAAD prez Sarah Kate Ellis, DJ Tracy Anderson, sneaky (but acquiescent) Downton Abbey cutie Tom Cullen, Luke Newberry (In the Flesh), the creative team behind The Fosters (including delish Peter Paige), the event's host Ross Mathews, GLAAD spokesperson Omar Sharif Jr., Charlie Condou (Coronation Street), GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz, Bridegroom creators Linda Bloodworth-Thomas and Shane Bitney Crone, Days of Our Lives hottie Guy Wilson, marriage-equality victors Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, The Fosters mommy Teri Polo, model Carmen Carrera, Orange is the New Black queen (and honoree) Laverne Cox, Husbands creators Jane Espenson and Brad Bell, musician Our Lady J, living legend Rita Moreno, '40s film star Anne Jeffreys, stand-up comics Suzanne Westenhoefer and Ian Harvie, Transparent star Amy Landecker and Transparent/United States of Tara creator Jill Soloway.
Pretty in pink Ellis was on message when it came to my questions about GLAAD's mission and viability in light of how so many gay people seem frustrated with the organization. I can't imagine the job she has, with so many people pushing and pulling in different directions...and that's just the people on our side!
Wilson was a charmer, even if his publicist was demanding I halt things, something I couldn't do as long as he continued his answer. Sorry! I tried!
Teri Polo spoke from the heart when I asked her what she found to be the best part of starring on The Fosters, using her six-year-old daughter's reaction to the lesbian storyline to illustrate the importance of the show, which would later be honored.
I knew I'd never get the truly massive stars who were on hand—Jennifer Lopez was there to pick up a pat on the back for producing The Fosters, Lupita Nyong'o and Ellen Page were presenters, Norman Lear was nowhere to be seen (turns out he was too sick to attend) and an afroed Naomi Campbell waltzed through a side door to skip my area entirely. But I figured I'd get Rebecca Gayheart, who appears in my friend's fabulous film GBF. As she slinked past with husband Eric Dane on her arm, clearly giving off the "I don't wanna talk" vibes, I asked if I could pose a quick GBF question. She was like, "What? I don't know what you're talking about!" and kept moving. She must've heard me say, "Okayyyy," because she shouted back at me, "I have no idea what you're saying!"
It's the movie she's currently starring in. Even if she didn't clearly hear me, shouldn't she be expecting a question about her gay movie at the GLAAD Awards? Or how about, you know, stopping and answering a question or two from the gay press? It was pretty annoying.
I was pleasantly surprised that I got Rita Moreno to stop. Decked out in a quite cool, studded leather outfit with lace bustier, the 82-year-old diva gamely mocked her former innocence when I asked her if she ever could have envisioned a gay-rights gala like this back when she first started her career. I followed up by asking what percentage of all the people she's worked with does she think were LGBT, which I assumed she'd find funny, but she seemed suspicious that I was looking for outing material so declined to answer.
She did, however, return to pose for me, as captured in the photo that kicks off this post.
Anne Jeffreys, 91, looked radiant, but cooed, "I can't hearrr youuu!" when I tried to ask her a question. I grabbed a posed photo instead. I wonder which Golden Age of Hollywood actors' sexualities she has juicy stories about?
All during the carpet, I was transfixed by this really gorgeous guy who was manning the video for Logo. He had on these knock-out plaid pants, so when the carpet broke up I complimented him on them and told him I'd rather be interviewing the pants than most of the stars. He laughed and said he'd have to take them off. Then...I left, going inside to the ceremony. What??? I seriously have no game. Here he is, and I wish (if he were single) I could spoil him rotten:
Inside, much to my chagrin, I discovered the media table was immediately inside the door, as far away from the stage as possible (hey, we were freeloaders, no complaints), separated from the main ballroom by lots of camera equipment. Luckily, we had video screens. And salads! And chicken!
I was seated with some of the press I'd just been standing near on the carpet, but spent most of my time chatting with a young guy associated with the nominated (and honored) film Call Me Kuchu, and with World of Wonder's wonderful Damiana Garcia, who was a real lifesaver of a good listener.
The show itself, as always, won me over to GLAAD. GLAAD isn't always perfect, but it's a powerful group advocating for inclusion and for positive media representations of gay people. It doesn't have to advocate for negative ones to balance them out—those have never been a problem, showing up in the past in just about every project with any gay angle.
I wasn't wowed by the program, though. Ross Mathews was very funny, extremely comfy in his role as emcee, but when cute Wilson Cruz took the stage to drum up contributions, I tuned out because the donation levels were just so astronomical, and so long minutes (an hour?) were spent wooing a quarter of a million out of the org's biggest donor. When Benny Medina joked that he didn't have J.Lo money, I kind of had to barf. The man is sick-rich
Cruz also involved, hilariously, J.Lo and Rita in his money trap, but I kinda felt like having them referred to and shown before Rita gave J.Lo her award stole the thunder from that moment.
It was lovely that both Bridegroom and Call Me Kuchu were honored, Streisand-and-Hepburn-style, and Bloodworth-Thomason's speech was majestic—she told us to never settle for the absence of opposition, but to push for being celebrated.
In handing out awards to the films, Lupita simply stated that she had to be there to "stand in solidarity" with our community.
Of the awards I saw presented, the speeches were genuinely moving and the recipients genuinely deserving.
Ellen Page giving an award to Laverne Cox was an inspired pairing, and both spoke eloquently. It was nice seeing Cox—for years a sort of low-level guest at every GLAAD function—elevated to genuine star status. She even worked in a hysterical Diddy joke right to J.Lo's face.
Naomi Campbell was a bit messy, but she gave props to a grateful Carmen Carrera, who stood and blew kisses in response.
Even though I was also seated across from sexy blond guy who his female companion had referred to as her "gusband," I simply had to split; it was late, I was jet-lagged and I'd just come from a long day of bantering with John Barrowman. (Read about that in the morning.)